We spent this past weekend in Evansville, Indiana at Peter’s Grandmother’s funeral.
I have to say, I was dreading it. Which is terribly selfish of me in hindsight. My focus should have been completely on Peter, on supporting him through this sad process.
Nonetheless, on Friday I was completely & utterly overwhelmed by the thought of traveling with the girls. Sophie, for some unknown reason, had woken up screaming multiple times the night before. Friday morning was one of those where your eyes burn, head pounds & you’re just in survival mode to get the kids dressed & out the door for school. I panicked at the thought of packing our suitcases, driving 45 minutes to the airport, going through all of the airport hoopla, which if you have small kids you know is a PROCESS to say the least, damn those carseats!! Then keeping them busy on the 2 hour flight, de-planing, getting a rental car, re-installing said cursed carseats, getting dinner, driving 2 hours to our destination, checking in a hotel, getting the hotel set up for the kids & then the weekend would begin. Ok, maybe I can see why on that Friday morning I just wanted to cry.
It’s often when you aren’t expecting it however, in these most stressful of situations, that God whispers in your ear. It can be tough to hear it when you’re in the midst of insanity but sometimes I get lucky & I pipe down long enough to learn something. It happened on Saturday.
During the funeral for Grandma Helen the pastor spoke about how after he had left the hospice where Helen had just passed he had gotten in his car & put on one of his favorite bands, Mumford & Sons. I know, hip pastor, right? The song that played was ‘Awake My Soul’. I’m not exactly sure where the pastor went with the message after that because a light went off for me at that thought, Awake My Soul, and I was lost in my own mind. I thought about how tired my soul was. Then I thought about how had it had gotten this way.
The answer was stress. Stress had beat down my soul & put it away wet. I don’t even think I realized how un-joyful I had become. I’ve been doing rather well the last few weeks with getting things done & making progress with my goals. Success however is not necessarily indicative of delight & appreciation.
Whether it was every day stresses like actually getting my kids to brush their teeth for more than 10 seconds or the unexpected life stresses like grandparents passing, the way I was handling the stress was keeping me from truly appreciating how lovely my life was.
There was a better way to do this, I knew it, but how?
I thought back to the plane ride down, I had spent so much energy worrying about how bad it could go but it turned out the girls were actually quite wonderful. They slept for a good bit & it wasn’t bad at all. And you know what I realized? When you’re putting so much of your focus on worrying you can miss out on some golden moments. I thought back to the flight again. We had split up with the kids and sat one row in front of the other. Sam had fallen asleep and was snuggled up next to me, leaning on my arm, her little sweaty face blissfully rosy from warm, content sleep. I peaked back between the seats to check on P. Sophie was doing the same exact same thing with him. This was my family & it was beautiful. For a few sweet seconds I saw Samantha, Sophie & P for what they really were, an amazing blessing in my life. How lucky I was, and to think if we hadn’t gone on this trip I was so dreading I would have missed out on that moment. And those moments my friend, those moments are gold. They’re fuel. They’re the magic potion that can get you through the tantrums & disagreements with your spouse, the grocery bags breaking & the discovery of marker on your newly painted wall.
Yes, this phase of my life is stressful. There’s a lot to do & two little people who don’t care about my responsibilities. Moments like these however, these beautiful little snapshots are exactly what I needed to ‘Awake my soul’.
It’s a true shame that it often takes a loved one passing for extended family to spend some quality time together but this weekend that’s exactly what we did. And it was so wonderful. I foolishly had assumed that because it wasn’t my family I wouldn’t benefit from the visit the same way I knew I would have by going to Florida. Whether it was seeing my girls having a lollipop party with their Aunt Jill, getting to know P’s awesome cousin Sarah or watching Sam & Sophie run around with their adorable little cousins while we desperately tried to take a family photo…these were nourishing moments that slowly but surely awakened my soul.
Poor P was in a really sad, tired place this trip but on the flip side I had no idea how good it could be for me to be there for him. At the end of the trip he told me I was his rock & foundation. Often when you have kids that are young & therefor completely in need of you, you forget to take care of your spouse. I was able to take care of him this past weekend & it truly felt good. And a little more, my soul awoke.
I didn’t know Grandma Helen terribly well but this morning I’m tearfully grateful to her because I truly believe she sent me this great lesson from heaven.
Awake my soul.